There are stars in the southern sky, southward as you go. There is moonlight, and moss in the trees, down the Seven Bridges Road.
These words were written and recorded for the first time in 1968 by Steve Young when he recorded his first album Rock Salt & Nails.
The song has been recorded and revised by various artists. I even understand that Young had three versions himself. Iain Matthew, and Mike Nesmith of the Monkeys, were the first to use the acappella version. However, it was the Eagles that made it famous in 1980.
I have always liked the song Seven Bridges Road but until recently I never knew that the song had its ties to Montgomery, Alabama. The road written about is officially known as Woodley Road. It leads out of the city and of course has seven bridges. Thus is the reason the locals know it as the Seven Bridges Road.
In an interview that I found Young tells the following story.
“I lived in Montgomery, Alabama, in the early 60s and had a group of friends there that showed me the road. It led out of town and after you had crossed seven bridges you found yourself out in the country on a dirt road. Spanish moss hung in the trees and there were old farms with old fences and graveyards and churches and streams. It was a high-bank dirt road with trees. It seemed like a Disney Fantasy at times. People went there to park or get stoned or just to get away from it all. I thought my friends had made up the name ‘Seven Bridges Road.’ I found out later that it had been called by that name for over a hundred years. That people had been struck by the beauty of the road for a long time, however, this is not the official name of the road. It is a ‘folk name’.”
He adds, “I never dreamed that anyone would understand or like this song. I played it for the first time one night in Montgomery and it got a big reaction. I was very surprised and thought it just because it was a local known thing and that was why they liked it.
It is really not a commercial song. I still don’t understand why people like it so much. In 1968 I was recording an album for A&M Records. The producer wanted me to interpret songs. He didn’t really want me to do any originals but we ran out of songs and I started singing Seven Bridges.”
Cindy and I spent this weekend just outside of Montgomery. The loft that we rented was located at The Waters in a community called Pike Road, Alabama. I’ll be posting another article soon with more pictures of our trip. However, being so close I had to take Steve’s advice and travel down the Seven Bridges Road.
There are stars in the southern sky, and if ever you decide you should go. There is a taste of thyme sweetened honey down the Seven Bridges Road.